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Labor Day Hunt to Remember
Elk
Contributors to this thread:
Nock 13-Sep-21
Nock 13-Sep-21
Nock 13-Sep-21
Nock 13-Sep-21
Nock 13-Sep-21
Nock 13-Sep-21
Nock 13-Sep-21
Nock 13-Sep-21
Nock 13-Sep-21
Nock 13-Sep-21
Nock 13-Sep-21
hdaman 13-Sep-21
Nock 13-Sep-21
Nock 13-Sep-21
Nock 13-Sep-21
Nock 13-Sep-21
Nock 13-Sep-21
Nock 13-Sep-21
Nock 13-Sep-21
Nock 13-Sep-21
Oryx35 13-Sep-21
deerhunter72 13-Sep-21
Nock 13-Sep-21
JL 13-Sep-21
Rgiesey 13-Sep-21
fastflight 13-Sep-21
Straight Shooter 13-Sep-21
Gotta Hunt 13-Sep-21
stringgunner 14-Sep-21
TGbow 14-Sep-21
Guardian hunter 14-Sep-21
BULELK1 14-Sep-21
Buckeye 14-Sep-21
t-roy 14-Sep-21
White Falcon 14-Sep-21
Dollar 14-Sep-21
GLP 14-Sep-21
drycreek 14-Sep-21
maxracx 14-Sep-21
sticksender 14-Sep-21
JohnMC 14-Sep-21
SBH 14-Sep-21
Treeline 14-Sep-21
Chief 419 14-Sep-21
Hancock West 14-Sep-21
nowheels 14-Sep-21
Buffalo1 14-Sep-21
GhostBird 14-Sep-21
Nock 14-Sep-21
Whocares 14-Sep-21
From: Nock
13-Sep-21
I’ve been on and off of bowsite for many years but this will be my first attempt at a hunt recap, so please be gentle. I really want to share this hunt not only because it was successful, but how it transpired. First a little background on my 2 sons. The boys and I have been bowhunting together over much of the last 12 years or so. Started them on turkeys, graduated to deer and then elk. Both boys have taken archery elk in the past. The boys are now in their mid-20s and settling into different careers (Tyler 27 / Jason 25). They are both several hours drive from me. It is getting harder and harder to schedule, but we were all able to set aside 7 days for our traditional Labor Day weekend archery elk hunt.

From: Nock
13-Sep-21
Season Opener was Thursday 9/2/21. However, heavy rain is forecast for the area on 9/1/21. The road up to our camp turns to gumbo with rain, so a last-minute change of schedule and Jason and I arrive in camp around midnight on 8/31/21. Good thing we got in early as it rained hard most of Wednesday. Tyler arrived late on Wednesday and stayed in a motel. He would head up to camp as soon as road was passable.

From: Nock
13-Sep-21
The area we hunt is public land / OTC with heavy pressure and we consider a raghorn a great success. Opening morning arrived wet and muddy. Jason and I hiked in the dark to get to a prime spot by shooting light. First set up, some limited calling and very quiet. Second setup, the same. Third set up, we get a few answers, but most bugles were very high up. We know this clearing usually holds elk, so we decide to stay put and call for a while. Jason is about 40 yards in front of me. We start cow calling back and forth while I throw in a few bugles and a little tree raking. The area we hunt is a mix of oak brush, service berry, aspen and as you move higher, lodgepole and spruce. This setup was thick with oak brush and Service berry.

From: Nock
13-Sep-21

Nock's embedded Photo
Forecast was spot on
Nock's embedded Photo
Forecast was spot on

From: Nock
13-Sep-21

Nock's embedded Photo
Welcome to the jungle
Nock's embedded Photo
Welcome to the jungle

From: Nock
13-Sep-21
After about ½ hr, I can hear something moving through the brush very quietly. I nock an arrow and get ready. Animal stops and backs off. It is only 20 yards or so from me, but I can’t see it. Sounds like it is circling towards my son. I can just make out 2 bulls sneaking in on my son. The front bull is a dark antlered 5X5 and the back bull is a light antlered 6X6. They are coming in, head on, to Jason. I see the front bull freeze about 20 yards from Jason. After about 20 seconds, both bulls bust. I almost get a shot at the light 6 point but after much alarm barking, they leave the area. Later found out Jason was at full draw on the 5 point but wasn’t comfortable with a frontal shot and let him walk. That was his choice. Tyler makes it up the mountain that afternoon. We all hunt together that night with some close calls but no dice.

From: Nock
13-Sep-21
Friday morning dawns cold and clear. We find ourselves in an elk herd just after daylight. Tyler at full draw on a bull when Jason busts a cow and all hell breaks loose. We are in elk most of the morning with several close calls but no arrows released. Late morning we decide to head for dark timber for some food and maybe a nap. We set up in the timber about 40 yards apart and start with little cow calling and food. Nothing at first but then we hear cow calls above us. We start cow calling back and forth and manage to coax a lone cow down towards us. It is very thick timber and I can only see her leg. Tyler is about 30 yards from her with no clear shot. We hear Jason let an arrow fly and the cow exits the scene.

From: Nock
13-Sep-21

Nock's embedded Photo
Dark timber dirt nap from 11 years ago.
Nock's embedded Photo
Dark timber dirt nap from 11 years ago.

From: Nock
13-Sep-21
We regrouped to find out what happened. Jason said he had a clear, broadside shot at 40 yards and took it. He thought the arrow clipped a branch and may have gone over her back. We waited a bit and went to the shot location. No arrow and no blood. Tyler zig-zagged up to where he last saw the cow and found a good amount of blood. We sat down and waited 30 minutes and then started on the blood trail. There was heavy blood at first and we thought she would be close. After a few hundred yards, the blood trail began to dry up. A speck here and a speck there. The boys both have 20/15 vision and are good on a blood trail. I was impressed how one son would lose the trail then the other would pick it up by a distant speck of blood. The tracking went on and on through some horrible aspen deadfall. But the boys stuck to it like a couple of trail hounds. On X said we were right at a mile from the shot location. I was thinking this was a probable single lung shot and chances of recovery were looking dim. Just as we were crossing into another ravine, Jason finds his cow. It was a good hit, a little high shoulder with decent penetration, she should have not gone that far but I guess she didn’t read the manual. The boys go to work and have her quartered and bagged in less than an hour. The yellowjackets (meat bees) are horrible and I am amazed that no one gets stung. We are about 3.5 miles from camp with 2000 foot downhill. Glad it wasn’t up. When there are 3 of us on the mountain, we have a standard system for pack out. Tyler takes a hindquarter, Jason takes Backstraps, tenderloins and a shoulder and I take a shoulder. Whoever shoots the elk then makes a return trip for the remaining hindquarter and antlers. That’s is exactly how we do it this time. We make it back to camp around 3 pm. Tyler and I go out for an evening hunt and Jason stays in camp and plans his return trip for the hindquarter in the morning. Evening hunt very quiet except for when an elk calf almost runs me down on a game trial. Tenderloins for dinner melted in our mouths.

From: Nock
13-Sep-21

Nock's embedded Photo
Blood hounds track her down
Nock's embedded Photo
Blood hounds track her down

From: Nock
13-Sep-21

Nock's embedded Photo
Pack out across shale cliffs
Nock's embedded Photo
Pack out across shale cliffs

From: hdaman
13-Sep-21
I like it! Keep it coming.

From: Nock
13-Sep-21
The next day, Tyler and I hunt hard in some of our honey holes but the elk are very quiet and not much sign. Jason retrieves the rest of his cow. We decide on a different plan for Sunday. Leave camp early and hunt high (around 10K). We have killed several nice bulls up top over the years.

From: Nock
13-Sep-21
We get up high at daylight. Some decent elk sign but very quiet. Checking our usual spots, they just are not here. We had one bull coming up the mountain toward us but when he got close, he snuck by. Our best guess is other hunters got to these elk before us. We spent the day up high, calling and napping. On 2 different occasions, we had a cow elk stubble into our sleeping area. The second time, the cow almost fell on Tyler. There is one area up high where we have glassed elk moving at about 7:30 PM. That is about when the thermals shift to down with ½ hr or so of legal shooting light.

From: Nock
13-Sep-21
At 7:15 we are waiting for the wind to shift down so that we can move into position. At 7:30 it happens and we set up with Jason below us calling and Tyler and I spread out about 50 yards apart, above him. Everything is perfect, except where are the elk? It is a little before 8 and I call it. I am packing up my things and putting on my headlamp for the long hike down when I hear hooves. I look up and see a cow moving down towards me. It is still legal shooting light so I grab my bow and when she stops at 30 yards with her head behind an aspen, I shoot. It sounds like a hit but in the low light, I am not sure. Did I guess the distance correctly? Were my pins visible? What about blood trailing and packing in the dark? I started regretting my shot seconds after I took it.

From: Nock
13-Sep-21
The boys showed up soon after my shot and encouraged me. We waited a bit and go to where I shot the cow. No arrow and no blood. Tyler, the blood hound, zigzagged up to where I last saw her, and found blood. Blood started out light then quickly got heavy. She only went 30 yards after a double lung pass through. The elk brothers went to work and had her quartered and bagged in less than an hour. Nice thing about an elk at dark is no yellowjackets. Long, careful pack out in the dark and we had 3 quarters and backstraps in camp by 11 PM.

From: Nock
13-Sep-21
We are exhausted from packing 2 elk off the mountain, but Tyler really wants to hunt one more morning. I need to hike up the mountain and retrieve my remaining hindquarter so Jason volunteers to hunt with Tyler in the morning.

From: Nock
13-Sep-21

Nock's embedded Photo
Can you spot the hunter in the hell hole?
Nock's embedded Photo
Can you spot the hunter in the hell hole?
The boys are in position at daylight and begin to move down into a hell hole of oak brush and aspen deadfall. There is a reason why we save this spot as a last resort. They find an active wallow and Jason sets up and calls from there. Tyler is positioned about 50 yards in front of Jason. The boys begin cow calling, no response. Jason does a few bugles and raking, no response. Nothing. Dead quiet. Tyler hears the faint sound of something moving in the brush. At about 30 yards, Tyler sees antlers moving in on him. He draws his bow at about 20 yards. No shot. Too thick. 10 yards, still no shot.

From: Nock
13-Sep-21

Nock's embedded Photo
TYLER WITH HIS BULL.
Nock's embedded Photo
TYLER WITH HIS BULL.
At 3 yards, Tyler releases on a good bull. They wait a full 30 minutes before starting on the blood trail. I get a text on my phone that a bull has been shot at 7 AM. At about 7:30 I get a text that they found him. I am packing down my hindquarter and will pass not far from the boys. Did I mention they were in a hell hole? It is ¾ mile below trail in a jungle. We need to pack the meat up to the trail, then down the mountain. The boys have him quartered and bagged by 9 am. They pack one load up to the trail just as I get there. I help them find the trail with turkey calls. Then we all go down on a return trip for the rest. I get off easy, I carry the head and rack. This is a big bodied bull. We get all elk back to camp by early afternoon. I am wiped.

From: Nock
13-Sep-21

Nock's embedded Photo
Why is he smiling, cause I'm not.
Nock's embedded Photo
Why is he smiling, cause I'm not.

From: Oryx35
13-Sep-21
Good stuff! I'm looking forward to the rest!

From: deerhunter72
13-Sep-21
This is fantastic! What an awesome hunt for a father and his sons! Congratulations

From: Nock
13-Sep-21
What a great hunt with some great young men. They obviously don’t need their old man around any more to kill an elk. Hopefully they will let me tag along for a few more years. We have never taken 3 elk on a single hunt before. We have had 2 bulls, a bull and a bear and other combos but never three elk. The end. Thanks for reading.

Charlie

From: JL
13-Sep-21
Congrats to all. That was pretty good story telling. Thanks for taking the time and doing that. Great pics too!

From: Rgiesey
13-Sep-21
Great deal! Looks like a good crew.

From: fastflight
13-Sep-21
Congrats.that will be hard to top for sure.

13-Sep-21
That truly turned out to be a “labor” day! Great memories you made right there. Congrats

From: Gotta Hunt
13-Sep-21
Congratulations on the hunt of a lifetime! Thanks for sharing

From: stringgunner
14-Sep-21
Nice write up! Huge success. Congrats.

From: TGbow
14-Sep-21
Congratulations to all of you. Thats a hunt you will never forget

14-Sep-21
Proud of you guys. G

From: BULELK1
14-Sep-21
Good reading and some good eats for all---------->

Congrats,

Robb

14-Sep-21
Congrats! What a hunt.

From: Buckeye
14-Sep-21
Wow, wild stuff. enjoy the fruits (or meats) of your Labor!

From: t-roy
14-Sep-21
Congrats on a very memorable hunt with your sons!

From: White Falcon
14-Sep-21
Great hunt!

From: Dollar
14-Sep-21
Great story/hunt congratulations

From: GLP
14-Sep-21
Great write up! Congratulations

From: drycreek
14-Sep-21
Congrats on a great hunt ! That gives you a goal to shoot for next year, and great storytelling by the way !

From: maxracx
14-Sep-21
What a great story, hunting with family is the best!!! Congrats to all of you.

From: sticksender
14-Sep-21
Heck yeah! Great hunt and family time.

From: JohnMC
14-Sep-21
Charlie awesome hunt, congrats and enjoyed the read!

From: SBH
14-Sep-21
That's awesome stuff right there. Well done!

From: Treeline
14-Sep-21
Great hunt! Congratulations! You’ll all be amped up for another elk trip before the pain wears off;-)

From: Chief 419
14-Sep-21
Great job telling the story. Nothing like getting out there DIY and getting it done.

From: Hancock West
14-Sep-21
Nice adventure. Thanks for sharing Nock.

From: nowheels
14-Sep-21
Way to put the “labor” in Labor Day! With several hundred pounds of elk meat, you can relive this hunt for quite a while. Sore muscles and feet will recover soon but the memories will last a lifetime! Congrats on a great hunt.

From: Buffalo1
14-Sep-21
Very memorable Labor Day hunt- thanks for sharing. Congrats on some nice trophies !!

From: GhostBird
14-Sep-21
Living the dream, Congratulations!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

From: Nock
14-Sep-21
Thanks everyone for the kind words. The best part of the hunt for me was watching the boys hunt, track, process and pack (especially the packing) as a team. They have become good buddies and pretty decent hunters. I’ll get off my soapbox now. Charlie

From: Whocares
14-Sep-21
Congrats on the hunt! Awesome to do that with two sons!! Good story.

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